By Alifiya Khan
The tremors in Nepal on Saturday may not have been felt in Pune city but several families are feeling the aftershocks, for their loved ones are on an expedition to Nepal. Two teams of mountaineers from Pune are now in Nepal. One of them was in the line of an avalanche triggered by the quake and survived it by taking refuge under rocks. The second team camping in Kathmandu, supposed to start its expedition on Monday, is lending a helping hand in rescue efforts.
A 25-member expedition from the city had left for the base camp of Mount Everest on April 16, led by Bhushan Joshi and Ravindra Dhupkar of Yuvashakti, an organisation that promotes adventure sport.
Dr Ajit Sane, president of Yuvashakti said that all the members of the team are safe though some had received bruises after coming in the line of the avalanche. “It was snowing since Friday afternoon and they were at Gorakshep. Around 9.30am on Saturday, the snow cleared and they decided to trek to the base camp of Everest. They were merely 15 minutes away when they saw the avalanche. They were shocked to see the stone and ice tumbling down. The group scattered and took shelter under big rocks. At the end of nearly 30 minutes, the avalanche passed and they decided not to head to the base camp. They returned to Gorakhshep from where they kept in touch with us,” said Sane. He added that the group will start for Lobuche the next day as part of the return journey to Pune. The only concern is whether a bridge at Namchebazar is intact or not, he said. “If the bridge is damaged, they will be airlifted. We have already spoken to helicopter operators,” added Sane.
Another team from Pune in Nepal is a team of 12 trekkers led by Giripremi’s Umesh Zirpe. The team was on an expedition to Langtang Valley in Nepal. Bhushan Harshe, a member of Giripremi said Zirpe contacted him on Saturday afternoon to say they were safe and are in Kathmandu. “They were in their hotel and there were still two days left before they were to start their trek. Zirpe and some other team members are quite experienced in disaster relief work. They are helping in relief work. In fact he told us if needed, we should arrange for a team from Pune to go to Kathmandu for relief work,” said Harshe.
In Latur, wife of Dr Dattatray Gojamgunde is worried as her husband is in Kathmandu for a conference. He told her over the phone that the hotel where his conference was to be held developed cracks and people had to be evacuated. “But he is living in a different hotel. His hotel was not affected. Due to network issues, I couldn’t speak to him much. I am expecting him to call,” she said.